Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Full Moon Madness-Truth or Fiction? by Leah St. James

I’ve always been intrigued by the moon. Maybe my fascination comes from one too many viewings at too young an age of reruns of Lon Cheney’s The Wolfman

I remember being petrified that I’d stumble across a wolfman in my own neighborhood, some poor, tormented soul who’d lost his mind. (Okay, so even then my imagination got the better of me.)

Like most people, I’d heard the stories about strange behavior taking place around the full moon, and like most people, I never believed them. Then I started a job at the local newspaper answering the news “tip line.”

I quickly realized that there would be days that would stretch the limits of my patience, days where people would exhibit strange behavior (stranger than usual) – cranky, mean, downright miserable people complaining about things completely out of my control, or my employer’s control for that matter.  

At first I attributed these odd periodic incidents to simple chance, until one day, in the midst of one such episode, I threw up my hands and said, “What is going on today?! This is crazy!” The response to me from a veteran? “It’s a full moon,” as if that explained it all.

I laughed to myself and quietly pitied the poor sucker who actually bought that theory. Still, never one to discount the voice of experience, I began to pay attention. And I began to realize...they were on to something!

Like the woman who called near the full moon in July a few years back. She spoke with a tone that put me on alert, her voice crisp and full of an authority that she at least believed she had. “I need the number to CNN,” she said, as if it were a perfectly reasonable request. (I don’t work for CNN. And I’m not in Atlanta.) Seemed she wanted to check on what fireworks the network would be broadcasting.

Normally I try to help people, figuring it take longer to turn them away than it does to just get them what they want, when I can.  So I said, “We’re not affiliated with CNN, but I’ll be happy to look up them up for you.”

When I related the number to her, she said, “What’s the 4-0-4 number you said?”

I looked at the screen where I’d Googled CNN’s contact page. “That’s their area code. They’re in Atlanta. Georgia.”

“Oh.”  She paused, apparently thinking for a moment, then said, “ Patch me through.”

That stopped me, and I actually shook my head, wondering if I’d heard her correctly. “Patch you through?” I said. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

“You know, transfer me. To CNN.”

Now I was trying not to laugh, because she was so obviously serious. “I’m sorry, ma’am. This isn’t the phone company. I can’t transfer you.” (Actually, I’m not even sure there is a “phone company” these days!)

She wasn’t happy with my response, but she happily let me off the hook. :-)

Then there was the woman who called, very excited to report that she witnessed an “anchor” in the sky next to the image of a soldier saluting the U.S.S. Yorktown. So I wouldn’t think she was crazy, she explained the anchor was a reverse image, the blue left from the silhouettes of the clouds. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

Each time I take a call like this, in the back of my mind I hear the howl of that poor tormented werewolf, searching for his sanity.

Speaking of full moons, I’m excited to announce the release of a new short story—Blood Moon. It appears in MYSTERIES OF THE MACABRE, A Halloween Anthology –six unique stories, six unique voices. (Our own Alicia Dean has a story in there as well!)

Here’s an excerpt from mine:

     On the beach, two lovers kissed. Behind them, the moon—hanging giant and hazy red in the sky—dripped feathery tendrils into the sea, painting crimson tips on the dancing waves.
Its raw beauty was lost on the two, engrossed as they were in each other, entwined so closely, they appeared from a distance as one. They never heard my approach. Never knew I'd been observing them earlier while they joined their friends around a bonfire.
I moved closer, my steps inaudible over the crashing surf. Something about the woman—girl really—called to me. More than that...vexed me.
     Maybe it was her waist-length hair the color of coal. Most of the girls teased their hair into those ugly beehives, but she’d let hers flow free, like a curtain of silk. She reminded me of...
     I forced that image from my mind. Maybe it was the way her date, a handsome young man, brought her hand to his mouth for a kiss. He pressed his lips not to the back of her hand, like a gentleman would, but to the center of her palm. I imagined their eyes making love as surely as if they lay together, unclothed, in bed.
     Maybe it was her response, a trill of sensuous laughter, carried by the sea-scented breezes to my ears.
     My stomach stormed. What made her boy-man so special? Why did he deserve her love?
     A need to make her suffer, just as I had suffered, rose and filled my soul with hate. Despite that, my hands flexed with the urge to touch, to sample the woman's lushness, the curves so happily on display in the indecently short dress with fanciful red polka dots that looked eerily like that moon.
Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil, and the redeeming power of love. To learn more about “Blood Moon” and the other anthology stories, please go here.To learn more about Leah, please go to leahstjames.com.


Margo Hoornstra said...

Ah yes, a full moon. I used to take calls similar to those. You had me laughing then I got to that excerpt. Excellent. Made me want to read more.

Diane Burton said...

When I taught school, I could tell when there was a full moon (or weather change) by the kids' behavior. Of course, a veteran teacher had to explain it to me when I was a newbie. :)

Great excerpt, Leah! Creepy!!!

Alicia Dean said...

Love this! LOL. OMG, sounds like you've dealt with some loonies. I've always been fascinated by the moon, too, and I loved the old Wolfman movies. Your story is soooooo goood! Now I want to read it again. :)

Rolynn Anderson said...

I used to watch the Wolfman shows as a little kid, with my hands over my eyes, peeking through the slits of my fingers...a modest barrier to the oncoming horror. But I 'watched' every one. Writers like Christine Feehan have taken these stories to new places...unbelievable, but readable, sometimes laudable. Nice job painting the scene in your excerpt, Leah!

Jannine Gallant said...

Loved that excerpt. I have a bad feeling about what's going to happen to that poor girl! My full moon experience...going into labor 10 days early. The maternity ward was packed. The nurses were run ragged, and I heard one mumble, "Damn full moon." I guess the gravitational pull tugs harder on pregnant women or something. The nurse told me they always have a full house on a full moon.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Totally believe in the full moon stuff. And your excerpt is stirring. Loved it.

Leah St. James said...

Isn't it fun dealing with the public, Margo? I'm at the point where I brace myself before picking up the phone! Thanks for your nice words about the excerpt. :-) (I guess it was a bit of a mood shift!)

Leah St. James said...

I never thought about the full moon's effect on kids, Diane, but wow, that could be far more challenging than a phone call! Glad you liked the excerpt. (I like writing creepy.) :-)

Leah St. James said...

Yes, Alicia, I've dealt with many interesting callers over the years. :-) And I loved Wolfman too...despite my paranoia! Thanks so much for the kind comment about the story. I love yours too!

Leah St. James said...

That's exactly how I watched the movies, Rolynn--hands over my face. Sometimes I'd hide my face against my mother, and peek out every so often. The stories of that era are pretty tame to what we see these days. I need to check out what Christine Feehan is writing these days!

Leah St. James said...

I had heard that about maternity wards, Jannine. That must have been crazy. That's the kind of "evidence" the nay-sayers can't dispute! (And yeah, things don't go well for the girl in the polka dot dress.) :-)

Leah St. James said...

Thanks, Brenda, for stopping by. I'm glad I'm not alone in my full-moon mania beliefs!

Alison Henderson said...

I'm a firm believer in the craziness of the full moon. As you said, you can't make some of this stuff up! LOL

And what a fabulous excerpt. The hair on the back of my neck is standing up right now!

Leah St. James said...

Thanks, Alison! I appreciate that! (I love creeping people out.) :-)